Long-awaited river trail linking downtown to East Sacramento is adding another key piece

Nearly two decades in the works, a bike and pedestrian trail along the south side of the American River that someday will connect downtown to East Sacramento is poised to add another key link.

The environmental review process is under way for the latest phase of the project, a 2.4-mile-long path between Sutter’s Landing Regional Park and H Street, near Sacramento State. The trail will consist of an 8-foot-wide paved path and a 4- to 6-foot-wide shoulder made of decomposed granite on the water side for walking and jogging.

Construction will begin in 2020 or 2021, project manager Adam Randolph said.

The Two Rivers Trail has been a work in progress for 18 years. When completed, it will run continuously from the Sacramento River on its western end to the H Street Bridge at Sacramento State at its eastern end, along the outer base of the levee along the American River north of downtown, midtown and River Park.

The first phase of the trail was built in 2006, and extended about 2 miles along the levee north of Richards Boulevard, ending at Highway 160. In January 2018, city leaders unveiled a new 0.7-mile portion of the trail, starting at a skateboard park at Sutter’s Landing park and dead-ending less than a mile away near where the Capital City Freeway crosses the river.

The new portion will start at the eastern end of the latest segment and run to Sacramento State. Ultimately, planners say it will connect to Guy West Bridge and the American River Parkway, on the north side of the river, creating 25 miles of continuous paths.

Two Rivers bike trail

The route would be a south-of-the-river alternative to the American River Parkway.

Two Rivers bike trail map
Source: City of Sacramento

Randolph said the city has no estimate on how long the project may take to complete, but the next phase will be the piece connecting Sutter’s Landing park to Highway 160.

The completion of the trail would not only encourage waterside recreation, but also promote biking as a means of transport, officials said. “It gives people of all abilities a place to ride their bikes, to walk, to jog, to walk their dogs,” Randolph said.

He added that the trail will give those cycling from Sacramento State an easy way to access downtown without having to ride through the city grid. The paved trail will also be accessible to those with impaired mobility.

The estimated total project cost is $6.4 million.

The city has conducted an initial environmental study and is inviting public comment on the scope of the upcoming environmental impact report for the new phase of the trail through June 19.

River Park residents are invited to an open-house meeting Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at Fremont Presbyterian Church’s Ferguson Hall, 5770 Carlson Drive, Sacramento. The meeting will include project exhibits, and team members will be available for one-on-one discussions. Cards for submitting written comments will be available.

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Candice Wang, from Yale, is a local news reporter for The Sacramento Bee interested in climate change, sustainability, socioeconomic inequality, and culture. She grew up in Connecticut.